By Robert Wayne La Coste
Proposition: The Bible teaches that it is the complete and final revelation of God to mankind.
First of all, I want to express my appreciation to brother Mike Willis for allowing this discussion to take place in the Guardian of Truth. This paper, editor, and its staff writers stand to be commended for having the policy that they will open their pages to controversy and the avenue of honorable debate. As I love truth, I love each of them for their proper attitude in regard to such matters. I love the soul of my honorable disputant and desire only that he would turn from darkness to light and that all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints would read this with an open heart and in concern for truth.
After several months of private correspondence and in hopes of a future public debate, I stand ready to defend the following proposition; Mr. Volluz will negate it.
The Bible teaches that it is the complete and final revelation of God to mankind.
It is only proper, that I define the key terms of this proposition.
By “Bible” I mean the sixty-six books that comprise the cannon of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, called also the Old and New Testaments. By complete, I’m using the word even as Paul did, when he wrote to Timothy and spoke of the word of God furnishing a man “completely unto every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17), i.e. “lacking nothing; entire, ended or finished.” By “final,” I mean “of or coming to an end; settled and conclusive.” And by “revelation,” I mean “a revealing, a disclosure to man concerning God and his will.” Finally, by “mankind,” I mean a term that is synonymous with the term Jesus used when he commanded, “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15) and the apostle Paul’s word, when he wrote about the gospel being preached in his generation to “all creation,” thusly fulfilling that command of Christ (Col. 1:23).
Yes, indeed, the Bible teaches that the complete and final word of God was revealed in the first century and that it would be all sufficient and would never perish. Let’s notice these truths together.
In John 16:12-13, just prior to the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, Jesus promised his confused apostles, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye can not bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.”
Dear reader, either the first century apostles were given all the truth or Jesus lied about it! This is the same truth mentioned above that was preached unto “all nations” (Matt. 28:19) and to all the “world” or “every creature” (Mk. 16:15-16).
This word was spoken and written in the first century as it came from the Holy Spirit, even as Jesus had promised it would be. Paul wrote, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God . . . now we have received, not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is of God . . . which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:10-13). Paul later wrote to the Galatians, “But I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12). Paul also wrote, “When ye read ye will understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed (emphasis mine – RWL) unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:3-5). The apostle John declared, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you . . . and these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 Jn. 1:34).
Friend, how much plainer could Scripture be? Jesus promised all the truth and Paul, John and others said they received it and preached it and wrote it so that others could hear, as well as read, the will of God for mankind.
As if these truths were not enough, in his short epistle Jude delivers a crushing blow to any who would believe in modern day revelation having come or going to come from God. Jude wrote, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The faith mentioned here is the gospel (Gal. 1:11-23; Col. 1:24). The word “once” is from the Greek work hapax and is defined simply as “one time for all time.”
Please notice how it is used in other places in the word of God. The Hebrew writer writes concerning Jesus’ death, “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice . . . for this he did once, when he offered up himself” (Heb. 7:27). We are very interested in what Mr. Volluz will say about this. Does Jesus have to keep offering up himself in thse latter times? To even think such is wholly absurd, yet Mr. Volluz, our Mormon friends and others believe that the word of God was not “one time and for all time” delivered and that we are still receiving revelation today. What about the following passage? “It has been appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:27-28). How many times does a man die physically, Mr. Volluz, and how many times will he be judged? The death or offering of Christ, was even as man’s own death and occurs only once. Jesus told John on Patmos, “I am he who was dead, but behold, I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:18).
In the same way with the same word, Jude says the truth of God was once delivered. That Scripture will stand when this debate is over.
The word of God manifested in the first century makes one “free from sin and the servant of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17). It also “presents every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28). Anything else is superfluous!
In Matthew 24:35, the Lord Jesus claims incorruptibility for his words (more enduring than heaven and earth!) and Peter agrees when he writes that the word of God is an incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever (1 Pet. 1:22-25). We do not need so-called latter-day revelations, even if they were truth!
How appropriate therefore it was for James to call the gospel he preached in the first century, the “perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25). The gospel is perfect in that it is flawless, full or complete and is lacking nothing; therefore I stand with firm conviction on this all-sufficient gospel preached in the first century, knowing full well that, “if any man preach any other gospel, he is accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9).
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 23, pp. 712-713
December 6, 1990